Meet Jim McGovern

Congressman Jim McGovern represents the Second District of Massachusetts in the United States House of Representatives. He is a champion for the people of his home state of Massachusetts, and a global leader working to end hunger, protect human rights, and promote peace. He believes public service should be about bringing us together and working to make life better for all our families.

Jim has been the top Democrat on the powerful House Rules Committee since 2018, serving as Chairman during the 116th and 117th Congress. Jim has worked hard on the Rules Committee to change business as usual on Capitol Hill and make Congress work in a more open, transparent, bipartisan way. For example, he put in place rules to give all Members of Congress more time to read bills. He required that bills to go through the committee process instead of just being written behind closed doors, and he created a new office to recruit and retain congressional staff that reflect the diversity of the American people.

On the House Agriculture Committee, Jim has been a global leader in the fight to end hunger. He fought for and successfully secured a White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health to make ending hunger a national priority. Thanks to Jim's advocacy and tireless work, military families are being screened for hunger for the first time ever, families with children get enhanced food benefits, schools are able to provide more nutritious meals, and America now has a plan to end hunger within the decade.

Jim has spent his career in public service working to strengthen America's global leadership when it comes to protecting human rights and promoting peace. He serves on two commissions which monitor, investigate and advocate on behalf of international human rights, the rule of law, and good governance: the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, and the bipartisan Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission. He has written and successfully passed into law several bills which help America identify and hold accountable corrupt foreign officials and human rights abusers. He has also authored and passed into law several pieces of legislation to hold the government of China accountable for human rights violations, including the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, the Tibet Policy and Support Act, and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act

Jim's concern for human rights goes back to his time as a Congressional staffer, when he led an investigation into the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. Jim uncovered that the murders were committed by Salvadoran soldiers who had been trained by the United States Government–leading to a major shift in public opinion and a change in U.S. policy that made future military aid contingent on improved human rights in El Salvador.

Jim started learning about the importance of public service at a young age. As a 7th grader at Burncoat Elementary School (top row, right corner) he volunteered on the 1972 presidential campaign of Senator George McGovern, a decorated war hero who became a champion for peace. Jim likes to say that while they're not related, he had a great last name. When Jim decided to attend college at the American University in Washington, D.C. he applied for an internship in the office of Senator McGovern.

Jim worked his way through college, earning a BA in history and then spending over a decade working in the office of Congressman Joe Moakley, a Democrat from South Boston. His time working for Moakley taught him that you have to stand up for what you believe in and work hard to give back to your community. After Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in 1995, Jim saw that Washington was working harder than ever for the rich and powerful while everyday people fell further and further behind. He successfully ran for Congress in 1996, and has won reelection every two years since then.

Jim takes principled stands on tough issues and works with Members of Congress from across the aisle and throughout the country to ensure that every single person in America and around the world is treated with dignity, decency, fairness, and respect.

Jim was born and raised in the Burncoat neighborhood of Worcester. The values he learned from his family are the same ones he fights for every day in Congress: fairness, decency, respect for all people, and the idea that each of us has an obligation to give back to our community. Jim’s parents, Walter and Mindy, own a small package store in Worcester, and his sisters are both public school teachers. He is married to Lisa Murray McGovern and they have two children, Patrick and Molly.

Jim’s Biggest Legislative Achievements Include:

  • Successfully increasing Pell Grant funding for low-income students struggling to afford college.
  • Authoring, introducing, and having the president sign into law vital legislation to create a Federal Advisory Council on Grandparents Raising Grandchildren in light of the opioid epidemic.
  • Creating the Innovative Approaches to Literacy Program which provides competitive awards to school libraries and not-for-profit organizations for the purposes of providing books and childhood literacy activities to children and families in high-need communities.
  • Securing millions of dollars through the appropriations process for the creation of a Wounded Warrior Service Dog Pilot Program to help wounded veterans live with independence and dignity.
  • Protecting and expanding the Land and Water Conservation Fund program, especially the stateside program that provides funding for local recreational facilities, urban parks and trails.
  • Creating the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program, which provides nutritious meals in a school setting to nearly 9 million of the world’s poorest children.

Jim Has Fought Tireless For The People Of Massachusetts 2nd District:

  • Successfully ensuring that federal aid is available for family farms following unusual droughts in Massachusetts by ensuring that economic injury disaster loans are available to farmers in addition to standard disaster assistance.
  • Working directly with the FAA and the City of Worcester to secure funding for a new, state-of-the art Category III instrument landing system at Worcester Regional Airport that allows airplanes from destinations across the country to land and take off in all weather conditions.
  • Bringing millions of dollars’ worth of federal funding to Worcester that have played a key role in the ongoing redevelopment and revitalization projects downtown like City Square, the Gardner, Kilby Hammond Neighborhood Revitalization Project and the Castle Park project in Main South.
  • Championing the creation of the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park to highlight the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution, and securing federal funding for the new state-of-the-art Visitors Center and bike path that runs along the river.